BROCTON The Brocton Central School Alumni Association has discovered that keeping a secret can be a problem.
Earlier this month, the group announced that Jerome Skinner and Judith (Remington) Fingerhut were this year's inductees into the Hall of Fame. What they did not announce is that they had also selected Richard Prince.
Prince is a member of the committee that makes the selections. In 2009, he was nominated for the honor, but declined.
This year when he wasn't able to attend the meeting, the committee selected him. They decided to keep it a secret from Prince fearing he would not attend the dinner celebrating the inductees. However, it became difficult to keep this a secret while letting people know he was being honored. Finally, the committee informed Prince of the honor.
"While he is OK with it, he still doesn't feel worthy," said a spokesperson for the group.
Richard Prince was a member of the Class of 1964. After graduating from Brocton, he went to SUNY Cortland to become a physical education teacher. Upon graduating from Cortland, he returned to Brocton in 1971 to teach physical education. Dick retired after 30 years of dedicated service to the students of Brocton. During his tenure in Brocton, he was instrumental in establishing the school's athletic policy which went on to be a model for area schools. He also created the coach's award and the Dan Palmer award, which are still presented. Dick was a football, basketball, baseball and volleyball coach. He was the first coach to take our football team to Rich Stadium in 1988. As Athletic Director, he was responsible for the players as well as the coaches' behaviors. No one wanted to be called to his office. Getting called in to his office usually resulted in at least a 20 minute one-sided talk - Dick talked and you listened. However, he was always fair and would eventually listen to both sides. He held you accountable. Dick has always put the student/athlete first. He wanted the best and expected the best from the athletes as well as the coaches. Dick was very appropriately nicknamed the 'Gentle Giant.'
Outside of school, Dick is very civic-minded. He has been a member of the United Way Board, the Inner Lakes Federal Credit Union board, the Chautauqua County Athletic Council Board, and the Section VI Board. He has been a Salvation Army bell ringer, emcee for many Brocton events and a volunteer for the Chautauqua County Home. Dick also coached basketball for Fredonia State and Fredonia High School. He has been married to his wife Linda Woleben for 45 years, the son of Harold and Beverly Prince and a brother to Kenneth. Other than going away to college, he has been a resident of the Brocton school district his entire life.
A Hall of Fame celebration will take place with a dinner on Saturday, Oct. 6 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at our newest winery 21 Brix located on Route 20 in Portland just west of the Brocton School. For more information please contact Mary Ellen Westin at 792-9472.